Friday, May 9, 2014

After the Sucker Punch...a Novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke rocks... and then some!

Had to share After the Sucker Punch... a Novel and the brilliant author, Lorraine Devon Wilke who was insightful enough to tell this story with such candor and depth. This breathtaking book took by breath way.

They buried her father at noon, at five she found his journals, and in the time it took to read one-and-a-half pages her world turned upside down… he thought she was failure. 

Every child, no matter what age, wants to know their father loves them, and Tessa Curzio – thirty-six, emerging writer, ex-rocker, lapsed Catholic, defected Scientologist, and fourth in a family of eight complicated people – is no exception. But just when she thought her twitchy life was finally coming together – solid relationship, creative job; a view of the ocean – the one-two punch of her father’s death and posthumous indictment proves an existential knockout. 

She tries to “just let it go,” as her sister suggests, but life viewed through the filter of his damning words is suddenly skewed, shaking the foundation of everything from her solid relationship and winning job to the truth of her family, even her sense of self. From there, friendships strain, bad behavior ensues, new men entreat, and family drama spikes, all leading to her little-known aunt, a nun and counselor, who lovingly strong-arms Tessa onto a journey of discovery and reinvention. It’s a trip that’s not always pretty – or particularly wise – but somewhere in all the twists and turns, unexpected truths are found. 

Author and longtime Huffington Post contributor, Lorraine Devon Wilke, takes an irreverent look at father/daughter relationships through the unique prism of Tessa’s saga and its exploration of family, faith, cults, creativity, new love and old, and the struggle to define oneself against the inexplicable perceptions of a deceased parent. Told with both sass and sensibility, it’s a story wrapped in contemporary culture but with a very classic heart. 

[As a special BONUS that brings the plot off the page, the Epilogue includes a link to the downloadable song "written by" the protagonist of the story...or, in the non-fictional world, by Lorraine Devon Wilke and Rick M. Hirsch!] 

Click here to listen to Lorraine’s music

My Review

After the Sucker Punch starts out with a note. Actually a death and then a note. A page from this girls dad's diary (actually "date book") that would change the way she would feel about this man, her father that had just died.This story raptures you right in and takes hold with it's sharp but clear dialog. The writing is smart, for lack of a better word and the story is intriguing with it's is emotional underbelly.

Lorraine Devon Wilke tells a story with such depth and great detail that you can't help but feel emotional. This could be many people's lives. It's familiar and relatable. The human existence. Imperfect people living with imperfect families.

There is just something too cool about the authors writing style. Maybe because she is also a musician. There is an artsy, anti-establishment feeling that drives her writing home even more. Her writing is as comforting as Anne Lamott's and Anne Tyler's but with a bit more edge. This was an easy story to get absorbed into.

By the way, I loved loved loved the last line in chapter 30. Thank you for the laugh!

Full of heart, the essence of life and still sheds enough light to find the message of hope. This is powerfully written and I ate it up. Sharp, cunning and real. Loved the bluntness in the authors writing voice and the honesty. This is a very good read that amused me, entertained me and pulled me in. So good to escape into someone else's dysfunctional family rather than my own for a change. Highly recommend After the Sucker Punch!

"As they walked to their cars, Tessa and Kate were unusually quiet. Something about the gravity of this time hit them both. They were no longer youngsters having romantic tantrums, high-strung girls getting traction with boys by creating melodrama to keep things interesting. This was real life with kids and husbands and the very real threat of divorce and broken families. Grown-up stuff."

Author, photographer, singer/songwriter, and Huffington Post contributor, Lorraine Devon Wilke, started early as a creative hyphenate. First, there was music and theater; next came rock & roll (big hair, '80s, great music!), then a leap into film when a feature she co-wrote (To Cross the Rubicon) was produced by a Seattle film company, opening doors in a variety of creative directions.
In the years following, she wrote for and performed on theater stages, developed her photography skills, and accrued a library of well-received feature screenplays; most recently, her script, The Theory of Almost Everything, was a top finalist in the 2012 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest. She kept her hand in music throughout - songwriting, recording, performing - leading to the fruition of the longtime goal of recording an original album (Somewhere On the Way). Accomplished in collaboration with songwriting/producing partner, Rick M. Hirsch, the album garnered stellar reviews and can be found at CDBaby and iTunes (see website for links). She continues with music whenever she can (which, she maintains, is never, ever, enough!), with her most current repertoire up at SoundCloud ( stop in for a listen!
Devon Wilke's current life is split between Playa del Rey and Ferndale, California, and is shared with her husband, Pete Wilke, an entertainment/securities attorney, her son, engineer/web designer, Dillon Wilke, and stepdaughter, educational administrator Jennie Wilke Willens and family. She's curates and manages both her fine art photography site and her personal blog (, contributes regularly to The Huffington Post, and writes a column for the award-winning newspaper, The Ferndale Enterprise. She has another novel in the works, as well as a non-fiction piece on brain injury, and invites you to enjoy her essays and journalistic pieces @, a writer's archival site (
You can follow her journey with her current novel at, and be sure to check her website for additional links and information.


Click here to listen to Lorraine’s music


  1. Wow!! I am deeply, truly honored to have such a spectacular write-up! Thank you, Brenda; what a wonderful support you are to the writers you appreciate!! Can't thank you enough and will be sure to share!

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  3. And I LOVE the images, particularly the bus stop and door knob hanger images!! Positive affirmations... :)

    1. You are so gracious Lorraine. I really appreciate that. Your work feels important. Significant, at the very least. :-)

      Thank you for sharing my blog. So kind. :-) Tickled!

  4. Fabulous review, Brenda, and congratulations to Lorraine! I really loved this story. So powerful, and the rhythm of the words flowed like music :D

    1. Thank you Laurie. We are in agreement. For sure!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you love. This was a great read. Special.